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What is "Oceanic" fish farming?
Ms WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for PRIMARY INDUSTRIES and WATER, Mr ROCKLIFF
You are on the record as saying your sustainable growth plan for the salmon farming industry will be oceanic, not estuarine. You clearly understand the heavy impacts that are happening on inshore and estuarine areas. Minister, what is oceanic? Exactly how far offshore do you mean? I am sure you understand the Okehampton Bay east coast expansion you have just approved is inshore. It is a farm that would be there for many years, causing damage to a pristine environment. How can you continue to support that approval?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. It is very clear to me the member does not accept independent analysis. The Marine Farming Planning Review Panel is of course independent. We set up a process when it came to -
Madam SPEAKER - Order. The member has asked a lengthy question of the Deputy Premier and is not even listening.
Mr ROCKLIFF - There were some 6000 submissions to that independent process. The Government thought it was very important that people had a say when it came to the Okehampton Bay lease - applying fin fish farming to a 20-year- old lease - so it was clear to me as minister for Primary Industries that the community needed to have their say. That is why we asked the Marine Farming Planning Review Panel to do the analysis and independent advice has come back. The Greens are not accepting the science or the independence of the panel because it does not suit them.
The Government is the strongest supporter of the salmon industry. It is an industry worth some $700 million and employs around 5200 people, so we want to see this industry grow sustainably. We are taking leadership on this issue. I remind Ms Woodruff and particularly remind Ms O'Connor that when you were in government, Ms O'Connor, you did not strengthen the regulations around salmon farming. You had the opportunity to -
Ms O'Connor - That was the minister then.
Mr ROCKLIFF - Through you, Madam Speaker, the Leader of the Greens had the opportunity when she was in government and Cabinet to clearly strengthen the regulations. We have done that. We have shown leadership. In fact, I will be tabling new legislation to further strengthen environmental regulations in addition to our changes to legislation last year which increased the independence of environmental regulation and introduced much tougher penalties for breaches.
Ms O'Connor - It will be too late for Okehampton Bay. Is Mark Ryan helping you to write that legislation?
Mr ROCKLIFF - When it comes to independence, the member knows that the EPA is now in charge of the environmental monitoring of the entire supply chain. You could have done that when you were in government and you did not. We have. We have increased the penalties for those who breach the feed cap, or the nitrogen cap as it is called. The changes are intended to ensure environmental regulations keep pace with energy growth and support community and market confidence. We want to ensure that we bring the community with us when it comes to salmon expansion and sustainable growth within the salmon industry.
Legislative amendments will soon be introduced, as I said, and will formalise the transfer of responsibility for environmental regulation of the industry from DPIPWE to the Environmental Protection Authority. This will apply to both inland and marine operations. It will provide a more comprehensive, integrated framework of environmental regulation for the entire process associated with salmonid farming activities, from the initial inland hatcheries through to marine farming, fish processing and final waste disposal.
In February we released an outline of the proposed changes and this will include a new environmental licence that will apply to both inland and marine -
Ms Woodruff - You've done so well with it.
Madam SPEAKER - Order.
Mr ROCKLIFF - Thank you for that high praise. When you reflect on your performance - between 2010 and 2014 - zero.
Ms Woodruff - You can't possibly take that seriously. You don't know irony when you come across it.
Madam SPEAKER - Order. I have already warned the member for Franklin. The minister will wind up.
Mr ROCKLIFF - The changes we are making will give the community greater confidence about the independence and, most importantly, transparency when it comes to environmental regulations and enforcement functions that apply to Tasmanian salmonid aquaculture activities. They will provide assurance to the community, industry and markets that there will be ongoing environmental accountability, which is very important in this sector through ongoing regulation by the EPA as an independent authority.
I recognise that Ms Woodruff will never support the industry.
Ms Woodruff - We support the east coast. We support the community.
Mr ROCKLIFF - No, you will always find a way to oppose industry that supports regional communities and jobs. I thank the member for her question. I recognise the fact that she is a newer member of this House but she needs to look very closely at what the Greens did in government between 2010 and 2014. I will save her the trouble - they did absolutely nothing.